Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the U.S.
Hashimoto’s occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your thyroid and damages it which affects thyroid function. Hashimoto’s leads to under-functioning of the thyroid (hypothyroidism) while Graves’ disease leads to over-functioning of your thyroid (hyperthyroidism).
These are 5 things to know about this autoimmune disease:
1. Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism is the most common cause of adult hypothyroidism in the U.S. and accounts for 90% of adult hypothyroidism cases. In the rest of the world, iodine deficiency is the most common reason for hypothyroidism. Subclinical hypothyroidism is often caused by autoimmune (Hashimoto) thyroiditis as well.
2. Majority of Hashimoto’s patients are women between the ages of 30-60 years old.
Women are affected up to 10 times more than men! It's not uncommon for women to be more affected by autoimmune diseases, but this one is especially clear that there is a hormonal component.
3. Women are at higher risk for developing Hashimoto’s after hormonal changes like pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal shifts can lead to immune dysfunction and autoimmune disease is an immune dysfunction. Your hormones play a role in the proper balance & function of your immune system. When you have these big shifts or transitions it makes sense that this could affect your immune system.
4. You may already have symptoms related to your Hashimoto’s like chronic constipation, weight gain, hair thinning, anxiety, insomnia, depression, joint pain, infertility, cold hands and feet, easy muscle fatigue, or chronic low energy, AND your thyroid labs may still look ‘normal.' I tend to look at labs a little differently so they may not look normal to me, but in early stages of Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism your thyroid labs may look ‘normal’ according to lab ranges. It just hasn’t shown up on your labs yet. Your labs are just a snapshot of what is going on in your system so it may have been missed. This would be a good time to begin supporting your thyroid and treating your immune system even before your labs show a change. You don't want to wait until you see it on your labs, start doing something about it now! Plus only 10% of Hashimoto patients show obvious symptoms and you may have Hashimoto's while only expressing general symptoms.
5. Hashimoto’s can affect your brain too! You have thyroid receptors in your brain, so if you have hypothyroidism, then this could affect your brain function too. This could be one reason why you have Hashimoto’s and have brain fog, depression, and low energy.
This is why it is important to make sure you are testing your thyroid antibodies not just TSH or thyroid hormones!
Thyroid antibodies to test for with Hashimoto’s:
🦋Thyroid peroxidase (TPO): Thyroid peroxidase is an enzyme found in your thyroid used to make thyroid hormones.
🦋Thyroglobulin (TG): Thyroglobulin is a glycoprotein produced and used by your thyroid gland to make and store thyroid hormones.
Antibodies will usually appear months, even years before symptoms appear and possibly decades before a diagnosis is made! These antibodies are tested through a simple blood test ordered through your doctor to determine if you have this autoimmune disease and to help monitor your thyroid health.
P.S. Is your doctor addressing your Hashimoto's by only giving you thyroid hormones? This not addressing the root cause of your Hashimoto's & your thyroid could progressively get worse. Want to start treating your Hashimoto's at the root cause? Apply to work 1:1 with me HERE.